New England Produce Center under new managment

05/17/2013 02:51:00 PM
Jim Offner

The New England Produce Center Inc. in Chelsea, Mass., is under new management.

John Lucero and Walter Campbell took over leadership of the market in July, Lucero as general manager and Campbell as market manager.

Brian Eddy, former manager of the market, retired, Campbell said.

The terminal market is home to 31 produce vendors, which is down a few from 10 years ago, Campbell said.

Improvements are coming to the market, which is more than 40 years old, although no plans are set yet, Campbell said.

“We’re looking at some changes around here, upgrading and things like that,” he said. “There’s nothing in stone. We’re just looking at some capital improvements.”

Plans don’t include expanding the market facility, Campbell said.

“We’re not looking to do any growth right now until the economy turns,” he said.

Business around the market hasn’t changed much, he said.

The market is privately owned, with each vendor being a shareholder, Campbell said.

Campbell said he and Lucero work as a team in managing the market.

“We don’t do anything without the other one involved,” he said.

Lucero could not be reached for comment.

Campbell declined to comment on his partner’s background, but he said his own experience on the terminal market was extensive.

“I came out of the foodservice industry,” Campbell said, declining to identify his former employer. Campbell said he last had worked as a transportation supervisor.

Campbell said he has worked on the market for years, “coming up through the ranks.”

The market is as viable as ever, Campbell said.

“My philosophy is to make the place better than what it is,” he said.

Vendors on the market, as well as the neighboring Everett, Mass.-based Boston Market Terminal, say business has been steady on both.

“It’s mostly the same as it always was,” said Mark Ruma, general manager of Everett-based Ruma’s Fruit & Gift Basket World.

There have been a few changes over the years, said Steven Piazza, salesman and president of Community-Suffolk Inc. on the Everett market.

“I’d say from overall volume, dollar volume, it’s the same the last three or four years, but there’s been some consolidation of the houses,” he said.

The new managers get a passing grade from Peter John Condakes, president of Peter Condakes Co. Inc., which is on the Chelsea market.

“I think the fellows that are managing the facility are doing well. They are looking at doing some different things.”

A recent upgrade that got Condakes’ approval is a video security system. He described the market’s management as “proactive.”

“I’m sure they’ll have some initiatives coming that we’ll be hearing about soon,” he said.

Individual companies on the market have kept up with requirements of the business, said Maurice Crafts, salesman for Coosemans Boston Inc. on the Chelsea market.

“Renovating, cooler expansion and hiring is going on at multiple companies,” he said.

Other than that, business appears to be as brisk as ever, Crafts said.

“It’s nice to see all the trucks lined up in the mornings,” he said.

Some improvements in the market would help, said Yanni Alphas, president and chief executive officer of The Alphas Co., Chelsea.

“They need to modernize,” he said.

For the moment, anyway, the market seems to be strong as is, said Ken Cavallaro, treasurer with John Cerasuolo Co. Inc., Chelsea.

“They keep it in great shape,” he said.



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